LIBERAL Mallee candidate Chris Crewther has called for an end to personal attacks in the lead-up to Saturday's election.
"I would hope that people would focus on policy and not on attacking the man," he said.
Mr Crewther contacted the Mail-Times in response to a letter from Haven resident Russell McKenzie in today's newspaper.
"There are a number of false claims in that letter," he said.
Mr Crewther said Mr McKenzie - who unsuccessfully sought preselection with The Nationals - began his letter by misquoting him.
Mr McKenzie wrote that Mr Crewther had referred to the people of the Mallee electorate as 'second class citizens.'
"I never said that, that's blatantly false," Mr Crewther said.
"I said it feels like people in the Mallee electorate have been treated as second-class citizens and forgotten about, particularly when it comes to things like infrastructure and services.
"I never called anyone a second-class citizen."
Mr McKenzie described Mr Crewther as a Melbourne resident, which Mr Crewther also disputed.
"In fact, being from Melbourne, he becomes part of the problem," Mr McKenzie wrote.
But Mr Crewther said he spent most of his life in the Mallee electorate.
"I grew up in Horsham," he said.
"My parents still live in Horsham. I did all my schooling in Horsham and Murtoa.
"I am the only candidate from Horsham, and the reason I stood is because I am passionate about the electorate."
He conceded that he had spent some years away from the Mallee to attend university in Melbourne and Canberra, and to pursue international law in Kosovo.
But Mr Crewther, 30, said it was false to say that any Mallee resident who had relocated to study or gain experience was foreign to the electorate.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with people like myself going to gain experience and wanting to come back to contribute and serve the people they grew up with," he said.